Chapter Seven Public Opinion
What is Public Opinion? <ul><li>Public opinion : How people think or feel about particular things </li></ul><ul><li>Not ea...
How Polling Works <ul><li>Pollsters need to pose reasonable questions that are worded fairly </li></ul><ul><li>They have t...
Random Sampling <ul><li>Random sampling is necessary to insure a reasonably accurate measure of how the entire population ...
How Opinions Differ <ul><li>Opinion saliency : some people care more about certain issues than other people do </li></ul><...
Political Socialization <ul><li>Political socialization : the process by which personal and other background traits influe...
The Gender Gap <ul><li>Men have become increasingly Republican since the mid-1960s </li></ul><ul><li>Women have continued ...
Table 7.3: The Gender Gap: Differences in Political Views of Men and Women
Education <ul><li>From 1920s through 1960s, studies showed a college education had a liberalizing effect, possibly because...
Figure 7.1: Generational Gaps on the Issues Survey by  Washington Post /Henry J. Kaiser Foundation/Harvard University, Aug...
Social Class <ul><li>Social class: ill-defined in U.S., though recognized in specific cases  (e.g., truck drivers and inve...
Race and Ethnicity <ul><li>Similarities and differences between blacks and whites are complex, but there is some evidence ...
Table 7.4: African American and White Opinion
Regional Differences <ul><li>White southerners were once more conservative than other regions regarding aid to minorities,...
Political Ideology <ul><li>Political ideology : a more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government ou...
Figure 7.3: Ideological Self-Identification The American Enterprise  (March/April 1993): 84, Robert S. Ericson and Kent L....
Liberals and Conservatives <ul><li>Economic policy: liberals favor jobs for all, subsidized medical care and education, in...
Table 7.6: How Liberals and Conservatives Differ
Liberals and Conservative <ul><li>Pure liberals : liberal on both economic and personal conduct issues  </li></ul><ul><li>...
Table 7.7: Policy Preferences of Democratic and Republican Voters
Political Elites <ul><li>Political elites : those who have a disproportionate amount of some valued resource </li></ul><ul...
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  • ap gov chap 7

    1. 1. Chapter Seven Public Opinion
    2. 2. What is Public Opinion? <ul><li>Public opinion : How people think or feel about particular things </li></ul><ul><li>Not easy to measure </li></ul><ul><li>The opinions of active and knowledgeable people carry more weight </li></ul>
    3. 3. How Polling Works <ul><li>Pollsters need to pose reasonable questions that are worded fairly </li></ul><ul><li>They have to ask people about things for which they have some basis to form an opinion </li></ul>
    4. 4. Random Sampling <ul><li>Random sampling is necessary to insure a reasonably accurate measure of how the entire population thinks or feels </li></ul><ul><li>For populations over 500,000, pollsters need to make about 15,000 phone calls to reach 1,065 respondents, insuring the poll has a sampling error of only +/- 3% </li></ul>
    5. 5. How Opinions Differ <ul><li>Opinion saliency : some people care more about certain issues than other people do </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion stability : the steadiness or volatility of opinion on an issue </li></ul><ul><li>Opinion-policy congruence : the level of correspondence between government action and majority sentiment on an issue </li></ul>
    6. 6. Political Socialization <ul><li>Political socialization : the process by which personal and other background traits influence one’s views about politics and government </li></ul><ul><li>Family: Party identification of your family is absorbed, although children become more independent-thinking with time </li></ul><ul><li>Religion: Families form and transmit political beliefs through their religious tradition </li></ul>
    7. 7. The Gender Gap <ul><li>Men have become increasingly Republican since the mid-1960s </li></ul><ul><li>Women have continued to identify with the Democratic Party at approximately the same rate since the early 1950s </li></ul><ul><li>This reflects attitudinal differences between men and women about the size of government, gun control, social programs, and gay rights </li></ul>
    8. 8. Table 7.3: The Gender Gap: Differences in Political Views of Men and Women
    9. 9. Education <ul><li>From 1920s through 1960s, studies showed a college education had a liberalizing effect, possibly because of exposure to liberal elites </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary college students’ opinions are more complicated </li></ul>
    10. 10. Figure 7.1: Generational Gaps on the Issues Survey by Washington Post /Henry J. Kaiser Foundation/Harvard University, August 2-September 1, 2002, as reported in Elizabeth Hamel et al., &quot;Younger Voters,&quot; Public Perspective, May/June 2003, p. 11.
    11. 11. Social Class <ul><li>Social class: ill-defined in U.S., though recognized in specific cases (e.g., truck drivers and investment bankers) </li></ul><ul><li>Social class is less important in the U.S. than in Europe; the extent of cleavage has declined in both places </li></ul>
    12. 12. Race and Ethnicity <ul><li>Similarities and differences between blacks and whites are complex, but there is some evidence that they may be narrowing </li></ul><ul><li>Latinos tend to identify as Democrats, though not as strongly as African Americans </li></ul>
    13. 13. Table 7.4: African American and White Opinion
    14. 14. Regional Differences <ul><li>White southerners were once more conservative than other regions regarding aid to minorities, legalizing marijuana, school busing, and rights of the accused </li></ul><ul><li>Southerners are now significantly less Democratic than they were for most of the 20 th century </li></ul>
    15. 15. Political Ideology <ul><li>Political ideology : a more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government ought to pursue </li></ul><ul><li>The great majority of Americans do not think ideologically </li></ul><ul><li>People may have strong predispositions even if they do not satisfy the condition of being “ideological” </li></ul>
    16. 16. Figure 7.3: Ideological Self-Identification The American Enterprise (March/April 1993): 84, Robert S. Ericson and Kent L. Tedin, American Public Opinion (New York: Longman, 2001), 101, citing surveys by CBS/ New York Times .
    17. 17. Liberals and Conservatives <ul><li>Economic policy: liberals favor jobs for all, subsidized medical care and education, increased taxation of the rich </li></ul><ul><li>Civil rights: liberals favor strong federal action to desegregate schools, hiring opportunities for minorities, and strict enforcement of civil rights laws </li></ul><ul><li>Public and political conduct: liberals are tolerant of protest demonstrations, favor legalization of marijuana, and emphasize protecting the rights of the accused </li></ul>
    18. 18. Table 7.6: How Liberals and Conservatives Differ
    19. 19. Liberals and Conservative <ul><li>Pure liberals : liberal on both economic and personal conduct issues </li></ul><ul><li>Pure conservatives : conservative on both economic and personal conduct issues </li></ul><ul><li>Libertarians : conservative on economic issues, liberal on personal conduct issues </li></ul><ul><li>Populists : liberal on economic issues, conservative on personal conduct issues </li></ul>
    20. 20. Table 7.7: Policy Preferences of Democratic and Republican Voters
    21. 21. Political Elites <ul><li>Political elites : those who have a disproportionate amount of some valued resource </li></ul><ul><li>Elites influence public opinion by framing issues and stating norms </li></ul><ul><li>But elite influence only goes so far; they do not define problems that are rooted in personal experience </li></ul>

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